Shaping a Positive View of Spine Surgery: 3 Surgeons Share How


Daniel Fassett, MD, Raj Rao, MD, and Walter Eckman, MD, discuss how spine surgeons can help shape a positive view of the industry. Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses.

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Daniel Fassett, MD, Neurosurgeon, Illinois Neurological Institute, Peoria: Education of the public is essential. Not every backache is able to be cured with a spine surgery. I see so many patients that rush into spinal surgery for the treatment of back pain. Unfortunately, many of these patients do not get better, and it is a "black-eye" to our specialty that there are so many surgical failures in the treatment of back pain. We need outcomes databases across the fields of neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery to figure out what we are good at as a specialty and educate our patients and the public about the utility of spine surgery.

Raj Rao, MD, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: We need to carry out fully-informed discussions with our patients and explain the options to surgery more thoroughly. We should reassure patients that, in most situations, surgery is not necessary.

Walter Eckman, MD, Owner of Aurora Spine Center, Tupelo, Miss.: We must listen and talk to our patients and show more interest in their need for answers and solutions.

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